Even countries whose governments oppose same-sex marriage must recognise rights, according to advocate general

The rights of same-sex spouses must be recognised by every member of the EU, even if a country’s government has not authorised gay marriage, the European court of justice has been advised.

In what has been hailed as a major step forward for equal rights, Melchior Wathelet, a Belgian advocate general in the Luxembourg court, said gay spouses had standing in countries even where governments were implacably opposed to same-sex marriage.

The Luxembourg-based court of justice of the European Union is the highest court in Europe. Panels of judges from member states sit to interpret whether EU law is being fairly applied and can issue binding rulings over national courts.

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